In Gut Balance Revolution, Dr. Mullin's highlights how our gut health is connected to whether or not we become overweight.
The Hidden Secret of Weight Loss
The calories in/calories out theory is outdated.
We are consuming fewer calories as a nation yet the obesity epidemic continues to rise.
We Have a Symbiotic Relationship with Our Gut Flora
- Breaks down complex carbohydrates with special enzymes.
- Produces key vitamins and nutrients like vitamin K & B12, niacin, & pyridoxine.
- Produces short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These regulate immunity, healing, & combat inflammation.
- Protects against pathogens. Our gut is the first line of defense.
- Helps train the immune system.
- Supports detoxification.
- Modulates the nervous system.
Whew! Our gut is working 24/7 to protect us. With a little help from us, we can keep it functioning at top speed.
Dysbiosis: The 7 Pathways To Weight Gain and Illness
- Origin. Where your gut bugs come from is important. Were you born by C-section or vaginal? Were you breastfed? Did you receive antibiotics as a child? Did you play outside in the dirt?
- Inflammation. It’s about balance - the yin and yang, the acute vs. chronic. Acute inflammation can be beneficial in healing but don't constantly set your system on fire. This is one of the key triggers of insulin resistance. Inflammatory cytokines block insulin receptors thus reducing your sensitivity to insulin and driving your blood sugars up. Do you have visceral adipose tissue aka belly fat? This tissue is metabolically active and encourages further inflammation.
- Type. Your gut bug "fingerprint" or the types of bacteria in your gut affects your weight. Bacteroides = lean body, Firmicutes = obese body. Firmucutes bacteria are too efficient at extracting energy from food and that energy is stored as fat. Methanobacter smithii bacteria also leans towards an obese body. It speeds up the breakdown of food and boosts fatty acid production, leading to formation of fat. You want o have more lean bugs in your gut like A. muciniphilia, H. pylori, and Christensenellaceae minuta. Noted!
- Diet. Your gut bugs are what YOU eat. What you feed your gut bugs determines which species are predominant. How you fertilize your inner garden may be a key determinant in whether or not you can lose weight. The SAD (Standard American Diet) diet shifts microflora balance towards Firmicutes or the fat causing gut bacteria. You can make changes in your gut microflora in as few as 24 hours simply by what you put on the end of your fork.
- Metabolism. Here Dr. Mullin details the importance of SCFAs and finding your own special sweet spot. Not enough? This decreases your gut's water absorption and you can't regrow gut cells. You also can't defend against colon cancer, IBD, etc. Too many? This can lead to weight gain, glucose imbalance, & increased triglyceride production. What is interesting is that the Firmicutes bacteria produces more SCFAs because they OVERdigest the fiber that you eat. So more are absorbed into your body and that energy is stored as fat.
- Placement. Bacteria should reside in your large intestine only. Not in your stomach or your small intestine or your esophagus. We are currently in the age of a SIBO (Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth) epidemic. This is defined as >100,000 bacterial organisms /ml of fluid in the small intestine. Common SIBO symptoms are gas, bloating, loose stools, abdominal distention or pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and restless leg syndrome. Learn more here.
- Communication. Your gut talks to your brain. Your gut tells your brain when you have had enough to eat and when to send messages to the pancreas to release insulin via glucagon-like peptides 1 and 2 (GLP-1, GLP-2). When your gut isn't healthy, this communication breaks down and we tend to overeat.